There’s a formidable gap between a) the frequency with which I enjoy eating carrot cake (anytime you care to set a slice in front of me), b) how often I feel motivated to bake carrot cake (once a year, twice if I owe you), and c) the number of times it would be a healthy decision to eat carrot cake for breakfast (somewhere between a and b). Here to bridge the divide: Carrot Cookies! These chewy oatmeal Carrot Cookies have the signature ingredients and flavors of your favorite carrot cake but only take minutes to make and are made of healthy ingredients too.

Healthy Carrot Cookies with Orange Icing. These soft and chewy cookies are FLOURLESS, vegan, gluten free, and naturally sweetened! Super easy recipe with oatmeal, cinnamon, and any of your other favorite carrot cake mix-ins. Simple, kid friendly and good enough to eat for breakfast!

Every spring, I come down with a fierce craving for carrot cake. It’s the way of Mother Nature.

The frost melts. The tulips bloom. The baby animals are born.

I am seized by an emergency need for carrot cake.

At the same time, however, I can’t in good conscience say that keeping an entire carrot cake around for a household of three, even this Healthy Carrot Cake recipe, is a particularly prudent idea.

It becomes even less prudent when you consider that one member of said household is a crazy man who doesn’t like carrot cake (I KNOW!) and the other is a 25-pound beagle.

And the third household member? Well, she wants carrot cake, but she doesn’t want to wait the 4+ hours she’d need to bake, cool, and frost the cake, plus wash the dishes.

As it turns out, the best way to have your carrot cake and eat it too isn’t a cake at all. It’s Carrot Cookies!

Vegan Carrot Cookies with Orange Icing

Carrot Cookies—Wholesome AND Delicious!

These quick and easy Carrot Cookies are made entirely of wholesome ingredients. The base is oat flour, so they are gluten free (you can find oat flour in many grocery stores, online here, or simply make your own in the food processor—directions below).

Instead of butter, these oatmeal Carrot Cookies use coconut oil, which gives them a soft yet satisfying texture. They’re naturally sweetened with applesauce and honey, and if you’d like to make them vegan carrot cookies, you can use maple syrup instead.

Batter to make healthy oatmeal carrot cookies with shredded carrots, raisins, oatmeal, and walnuts.

I crave my carrot cake fully loaded with yummy mix-ins, and you’ll find that preference reflected in this carrot cookie recipe.

In addition to a whopping 1 ½ cups of freshly grated carrots (Carrot Cookies healthy enough for breakfast? I say yes!), I added chopped walnuts, raisins, and warm, signature carrot cake spices like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.

I know some of these mix-ins (and by “some” I mean “raisins”) are cause for division in the carrot dessert kingdom, so if they aren’t your thing, you can simply omit them.

In an effort to further our Carrot-Cookies-for-Breakfast cause, I also added a few tablespoons of flaxseed for an extra nutritional boost.

If you’d like to keep this recipe as virtuous as possible, these chewy Carrot Cookies are wonderful just as they are, completely unadorned.

Chewy Carrot Cookies with Oatmeal

That said…I couldn’t resist the urge to drizzle my Carrot Cookies with orange icing, because that’s how my grandma topped her carrot cookies when I was growing up (you can find her recipe called Orange Cookies on my site).

For the carrot cake traditionalists, you can also top these Carrot Cookies with cream cheese frosting. (Need a recipe? Check out the cream cheese frosting on top of this Pumpkin Sheet Cake.)

How to Store and Freeze

  • To Store. Store leftover cookies in an airtight container lined with a paper towel at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze. If freezing the cookies, I recommend waiting to frost them or freezing the frosting separately. If your cookies are already frosted, to freeze, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet, place the baking sheet in the freezer until the cookies harden, then transfer the cookies to an airtight container or ziptop bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Recommended Tools to Make Carrot Cookies

Healthy Carrot Cookies with Orange Icing. These soft and chewy cookies are FLOURLESS, vegan, gluten free, and naturally sweetened! Super easy recipe with oatmeal, cinnamon, and any of your other favorite carrot cake mix-ins. Simple, kid friendly and good enough to eat for breakfast!

Carrot Cookies with Orange Icing

5 from 11 votes
Healthy Carrot Cookies with Orange Icing. These soft and chewy cookies have all the flavors and ingredients of your favorite carrot cake but are FLOURLESS, vegan, gluten free, and naturally sweetened! Super easy recipe with oatmeal, cinnamon, and any of your other favorite carrot cake mix-ins.

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 45 mins

Servings: 12 cookies

Ingredients
  

FOR THE CARROT COOKIES:

  • 1 1/4 cups  quick-cooking oats  I recommend quick oats over rolled oats, as the rolled oats will have a much firmer texture that is harder to chew
  • 1 cup  oat flour  see notes to make your own
  • 2 tablespoons  ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled grated carrots (about 8 ounces or 2 large carrots)
  • 3/4 cup chopped raw walnuts or pecans
  • 1/4 cup raisins or additional walnuts or pecans
  • 1/3 cup honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup melted cooled coconut oil or unsalted butter (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

FOR THE ORANGE ICING (optional):

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar sifted if lumpy
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice plus additional as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, oat flour, flaxseed, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Add the carrots, walnuts, and raisins. With a rubber spatula, stir to combine.
  • In a separate medium bowl, briskly whisk together the honey, applesauce, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. If your coconut oil resolidifies, pop the mixture in the microwave for a few seconds, then stir until smooth. Pour the liquid mixture into the oat mixture and fold in by hand, just until combined. The dough will be thick, wet, and sticky.
  • With a large cookie scoop or 1/4 cup measure, portion the dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between each. Carefully flatten each cookie to be about 3/4 inch thick. If the dough is sticking to your hands, wet your palms slightly to make the process easier.
  • Bake until the cookies are lightly golden and firm at the edges and on the top, 12 to 14 minutes. Place the baking sheet on a cooling rack (do not keep it on top of your hot oven) and let the cookies cool on the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer cookies from the sheet to the wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  • For the orange icing: Whisk the powdered sugar, orange juice, and vanilla together in a small bowl. Drizzle over the cooled cookies. Wait a few minutes to allow the icing to set. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Store leftover cookies in an airtight container lined with a paper towel at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • If freezing the cookies, I recommend waiting to frost them or freezing the frosting separately. If your cookies are already frosted, to freeze, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet, place the baking sheet in the freezer until the cookies harden, then transfer the cookies to an airtight container or ziptop bag.
  • TO MAKE YOUR OWN OAT FLOUR: To make your own oat flour, pulse 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon rolled or quick oats in a food processor until they are well ground. Measure out 1 cup for the recipe, then use as directed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie (without glaze)Calories: 215kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 5gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 42mgFiber: 4gSugar: 10g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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54 Comments

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    1. Thanks Nicole! The carrots are quite sneaky, but they add a fantastic natural sweetness. Hope you enjoy. Let me know how they turn out for you!

  1. My Grandma always made these cookies!! I have told so many friends about them and brought them to parties, but no one else had ever heard of them?!? I googled out of curiosity and it brought me to your blog :) They really are the best cookies ever, aren’t they??

    1. Sarah, this makes me so happy! What a lovely connection. Grandmas do know best, don’t they? I love these cookies too. I’m so glad you found my blog, and thanks for taking time to comment!

  2. Hi Shayelyn! GREAT question, and I’m so glad you asked: Cook, then mash, then measure! It should be about 4 or 5 carrots, depending upon their size.

  3. Hi Deanna! You can use the same amount of softened, unsalted butter. The cookies won’t be quite as light in texture, but they will still be delicious!

  4. Aren’t they just the best? My grandma never made hers with coconut, but I’m sure that they are delicious that way too!

  5. I make these cookies every year! My mom made them growing up. We couldn’t find our receipt card this year and I Didn’t think I would find the recipe online! Thank you!   These are them!! Super yummy!! 5 stars

    1. I am so glad that you found these Billie Jo! Are they just the best? Thanks so much for trying a recipe and taking time to report back. It really means a lot!

  6. I was looking for the receipt because ink is smeared from use s didn’t know correct amounts &ingredients with some items on handwritten receipt! How precious it is. My mother Julia May who is 89 made the carrot cookies with orange peel &orange juice icing growing up they were & still are my favorite cookie I yearn for their yummy ? taste sensation. Cooking up a batch soon?5 stars

    1. Hi Cee, your recipe card proves how well-loved these cookies are and how precious they are to many families, including yours! I’m glad I could help you figure out the proper amounts. Thank you!

  7. I am so glad that I found your recipe and glad to hear your story about your grandmother. A friend of ours had given me the recipe years ago and I made it every Christmas and then I lost the recipe.  Can’t wait to make these it’s been a very long time. Lorrie5 stars

    1. Hi Lorrie, I’m so glad you found the recipe here and that you’ll be able to make the cookies again! I love hearing how recipes are special for everyone, and this one certainly sparks a lot of fond memories! :) Thanks so much!

  8. My Husband has been talking a while now about carrot cookies like his Grandma made. I have never heard of these. I made them as a surprise for my Husband and took them to his Hospital room as he has had a total knee replacement. He said they were very good. It’s been about 50years since he has had any. So hoping this brought back some great memories. Also, could you make a cream cheese icing of some sorts instead of the orange or not?5 stars

    1. Hi Norma, thank you for this wonderful comment! It makes me so happy to hear that these cookies are sparking such wonderful memories. I’m so glad your husband enjoyed them! These cookies would definitely be delicious with cream cheese frosting. Great idea.

  9. Hi Leah, it makes me happy to hear of another family who has enjoyed these cookies as part of their longtime holiday tradition! They’re definitely an old classic. Happy holidays to you and yours!

  10. Yeah I definitely only attempt making a big three layer carrot cake on Easter. But with these cookies, I can happily have all the goodness of carrot cake more than once a year. Hooray! 

  11. For a kids’ snack in a nut free school, what do you think of omitting the walnuts, or perhaps replacing them with sunflower seeds? Thanks!

    1. I am wondering about the same thing! Id like to make this for my kids snack but their snacks have to be nut free. is there an alternative to that much walnuts?

      1. Hi Hilal! While I’ve never made these without the nuts, you could experiment with it. If you decide to try them, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  12. These cookies look delicious! I sometimes buy the bags of pre-grated carrots at the grocery store for certain recipes. Then, I inevitably end up with half a bag leftover that I don’t know what to do with. This recipe will solve that problem going forward so thank you! :)

  13. These…are….THE…BEST…cookies I have ever had! Made 1 batch last night and don’t have any left!! Will try to make more this week, but maybe a little smaller…so they last longer…LOL!!5 stars

  14. Made these today and they are so yummy and easy to make! I love how the cookie itself isn’t overly sweet but than you add on the orange glaze and it just gives it a perfect taste.

    Had my husband taste test and he loved it as well.

    Thanks so much will for sure bake these again.

    Megan5 stars

    1. I’m so happy to hear the cookies are a hit, Megan! Thank you so much for giving them a try and reporting back. :)

  15. I made a triple batch of these last weekend as a treat for a big family get together and they were A-mazing!!!!  Seriously, we all ate 2 or 3 and raved about how packed with flavor they were and how satisfying they seemed!  I will be making these again for Easter!  Thanks for a wonderful and memory making cookie 5 stars

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this wonderful review, Natalie! I’m so glad to hear the cookies were a hit!

  16. The cookies are delicious and so easy to put together as I had everything on hand.  Thank you so very much for the recipe.  5 stars

    1. I’m so glad to hear it, Elaine! Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try and for taking the time to review!

  17. Made these cookies yesterday and had them for breakfast this morning – really good and not too sweet. I didn’t add the frosting because I planned on them for breakfast. My husband can’t eat flax seed so I subbed wheat germ. This is a nice low calorie treat.

    1. Mickie, I have never heard of that and I honestly can’t recommend it. I think the matter would melt into a puddle; they really do need to bake in an oven. If you try the recipe, I hope you love them.

    1. Hi Ivonne, you could try playing around with canola oil, but I haven’t tried that myself so it’d definitely be an experiment. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes.

  18. I used pre-shredded, tri-colored, carrots from the grocery store, and they turned out both beautiful and delicious! The orange icing really took the cookies to the next level. Yum! 5 stars

  19. I finally got round to baking these this morning and they are divine and healthy! My favorite carrot cake cookies to date. I halved the honey and it was still sweet enough for me. Thank you Erin.5 stars

    1. Hi Chereal! I’ve never tried to swap out the oat flour in this recipe, so I’m not sure how it would turn out. If you try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!